Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles preview

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South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Saturday 5:30pm at ANZ Stadium

The first game of Saturday night's double header sees the battling Rabbitohs take on a revitalised Sea Eagles side at ANZ Stadium. 

It's been a rough start to the Seibold era at the Redfern. The Pride of the Leaguelooked on course for their maiden win, at 14-nil before a spirited Panthers comeback extinguished it that meaning they start 0-2 in the nascent season. Handling was a familiar issue for the Rabbitohs with nine errors in the heat added to 40 missed tackles would've had Seibold tearing his hair out.

A positive for the Redfern side was the debut of Adam Doueihi. The young Lebanon half filled in well for the injured Adam Reynolds and showed some classy touches in the spine, with Cody Walker and Damien Cook showing that if they repeat their first half showing Souths are right in this contest.

Manly were magnificent as they piled up a half century against Parramatta. The central figure, in the demolition was halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, he had a hand in everything, scoring a try and kicking eight conversions. For Trent Barrett though, it will be the zero on the scoreboard that will please him as they dodged several close no-try decisions late in the game.

The Eagles pack tore through the Eels like an all you can eat buffet, 1631 run metres compared to just under 1100 for the visitors. Jake Trbojevic continued to imprint mark on the contest with 158 metres and the signing of Joel Thompson added some veteran presence to a young, powerful forward pack which will match up well against the Rabbitohs.

Last meeting: Round 9 2017 - Rabbitohs 8 Sea Eagles 46

Who to watch: Damien Cook was a constant back-up option for a majority of his career - nine starts before he moved to Souths. Now, the dummy-half has found spot at the cardinal and myrtle, taking the starting role from Robbie Farah and his energy and pace showed in Souths racing out to a 14-nil lead last week, so if the Rabbitohs are to get off the mark, his work against tiring Manly forwards will be key.

Young Lachlan Croker seemed to find his feet in first grade after a tough debut. He scored a four-pointer and laid on a lovely pass to Adam Fonua-Blake, as his partner DCE ran the show. Having someone like DCE is vital for Croker, as it allows the young half to stick to playing the same role Blake Green did last season. 

The favourite: Looking at formlines - Manly go in as heavy favourites after the flogging they gave historic rivals Parramatta and should kick away late against Souths.

My tip: I'll go the Sea Eagles by 6.

1. Alex Johnston 2. Richard Kennar 3. Greg Inglis 4. Dane Gagai 5. Robert Jennings 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Doueihi 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Sam Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Cameron Murray 14. Hymel Hunt 15. Mark Nicholls 16. George Burgess 17. Tevita Tatola

1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Jackson Hastings 15. Shaun Lane 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Kelepi Tanginoa

Referees: Gavin Badger, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Ricky MacFarlane, Adam Cassidy; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Ashley Klein;

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